Attorney General K K Venugopal on Wednesday cited of stolen documents against lawyer Prashant Bhushan’s petition in the Rafale deal hearing in the Supreme Court.
Venugopal said, “These documents were stolen from the Defence Ministry either by former or present employees. These are secret documents and can’t be in the public domain.”
Two review petitions have been filed regarding the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets. One petition is by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and lawyer Prashant Bhushan. The other petition is by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Sanjay Singh.
The Supreme Court bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi declined to hear the petition by the AAP leader since he had made derogatory remarks on the Supreme Court.
The Attorney General (AG) representing the Centre alleged of Bhushan’s petition on Rafale case being stolen from MoD. He said, “We are dealing with defence purchases which involve security of the state. It is a very sensitive case.”
While lawyer Prashant Bhushan countered, critical facts and investigations have been suppressed in this issue.
However, the AG said, “It is a criminal offence. It is a breach of Official Secrets Act.”
Justice K M Joseph comprising the SC bench said, even stolen evidence can be looked into the court. Rao disagreed with this statement by Justice Joseph and rather said, “How did the petitioners get privileged documents of defence ministry?”
K K Venugopal further stepped up on saying, “We need Rafale jet to defend our country from F-16 fighter planes that recently bombed us. Without Rafale, how can we resist them.”
He added, “Rafale fighter jets are needed although MiG 21 of 1960s performed beautifully against F16s.”
Justice Joseph came down heavily on the Centre and said, “If there is a question of corruption, can anyone take shelter under argument of national security.”
The Supreme Court bench adjourned the case and has scheduled March 14 for the next hearing.